Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On bacteria treatment

The approach used to erradicate bacteria, infections by parasytes such as T. cruzi/brucei and cancerous cells is to attack the targetted cells with radiation or drugs in order to kill them all despite thendeath also of host's cells. This approach however does not work on an heterogeneous population that will in fact loose the weakest (in relation to the drug attack) individuals and have them replaced by others more suitable to handle the drug attack. This process works exactly as natural selection and will lead to pathogens more and more resistant. However a reverse approach could be taken: A great abundance of nutrients would lead to an increase in the population where resistant pathogens would have to compete with the non-resistant ones that should have some sort of metabolic advantage since they don't have to carry the burden of the mechanisms that allow them to resist to the drugs. In this case after some generations the resistant pathogens should have lost all their resistant members and a drug attack would be more efficient. So a strategy could be to overfeed the pathogen and use a brutal drug attack as late as possible (as late as the pacient can survive the dru shock treatment).


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